Biography: May I Have This Dance?

“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” — Kevin Arnold
From my rosy red cheeks after my lengthy afternoon nap to the many wagon rides down the backyard hill to my glowing smiles on Christmas morning….
From the glorious summer beach sunrises to my rainy high school prom to the crisp air and rolling hills of upstate New York….
“A million feelings, a thousand thoughts, a hundred memories, all for one person.” — Lil Wayne

Fresh out of the shower, I peer down the hallway in my pajamas, my damp hair falling down my back. With the thump of the base and the blast of the trumpets, my lips slowly pinch upwards into an ecstatic grin, and my ears ring with joy. Without hesitating, I dart down the hall and peep my head around the corner into the living room. My eyes drift to my mom and dad who are both dancing and laughing hysterically; holding hands, they step in and out to the steady rhythm, and in one fluid motion, my mom twirls under my dad’s arm. As I see my sister crazily jumping up and down to the beat, I giggle, and my heart thumps loudly assuring me that I will never forget this night.

At my senior band banquet ten years later with my parents, the two people who sparked my love for music and dance

Once my gaze locks with my sister’s, she enthusiastically shouts, “Sarah!” In no time at all, she skips to me, grabs my hand, and pulls me into the pretend ballroom for the evening. I smile, excited to show off my dance moves, and look up at my dad. “Do you know who sings this song?” he quizzes me.

I have only heard this song a hundred times, so I quickly reply, “Of course, Dad. This is Billy Stewart’s ‘Sitting in the Park.’”

“Where did you learn to have such great taste in music?” he asks jokingly with a wide grin stretching across his face.

“I only learn from the best,” I chuckle.

As he makes his way to the center of the room, where I envision the disco ball hanging from the tall ceiling, he bobs his head and shrugs his shoulders waiting for me to join him. “Ready to learn something new?” he asks.

“Always,” I say. My toothy smile beams with curiosity and excitement, and I quickly hop to his side.

He takes my little hand in his and says, “This is called the box step. You ready?”

I nod and move my feet with his to the driving pulse of the drums. Occasionally, I step on his down booties, and he just laughs deeply and repeats, “Back, together. Left, together. Forward, together. Right, together.”

As the song comes to a close, my sister bounces hastily chanting, “My turn! My turn!”

With a grand bow, my dad thanks me for the dance. Giggling, I grasp my invisible skirt and curtsy in return. I then dash over to my mother who is kneeling by the stereo and request Faith Hill’s “I Got My Baby.” She accepts and pulls me into a warm hug; I nuzzle my nose up against the sleeve of her robe and breathe in the sweet scent of fresh, clean laundry. As my mom switches from one CD to the other, I practice the box step whispering to myself, “Back, together. Left, together. Forward, together. Right, together.”

One step at a time

As my brown leather boots scuff against the sidewalk, I glance up at the swaying trees, the gorgeous leaves of orange and red. I take in a deep breath of crisp, cool air of autumn while the rays of the afternoon sun toasts my chilled nose. I grip the straps of my backpack, ready for my next class of the day. With my planner in hand, I glance repeatedly at my long to-do list, and my thoughts begin to whirl, round and round, in my head. This is my first year of college, my first year at the University of Georgia, and I hunger to be the best I can be. Even though at times classes can be stressful, I know my determination and resilience will pay off. In time, my dream of becoming a pediatric speech pathologist will come true. Suddenly, my eyes instinctively flicker down to the screen of my phone to see the glowing face of Billy Stewart; immediately, I hear the piano and driving beat of “Sitting in the Park” and let out a soft laugh. My attention gradually drifts from my biology exam to the exciting nights of dancing and lively music when I was a child. I think of my two incredible parents, of my mom’s bright smiles and my dad’s silly jokes. I think of my loving and supportive family, how I am honored to call myself a Knapp. My anxiety slowly fades, and my cherished memories of the box step come to life. My dad and I take the floor with our swift foot work and impressive dance moves; in no time, the imaginary crowd stands on their feet, erupting in awe. Now, with a spring in my step, I enter the lecture hall confident in myself, confident for all that I have worked to become.

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